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How do you fare with recognising support when it rat-a-tat-tats at the door? Do you open up and even let it in?
Since December I have been discovering and re-learning 7 powerful lessons about what it is to receive support, especially when it seems to come in disguise.
I want to open up to you about these 7 leanrings and the journey that yielded them.
You see, it all started at the tail end of a one-off mentoring call I had with an author and speaker (after getting the ‘hit” I should have a slot with him). We had been discussing a completely unrelated topic for the whole call, but upon learning I had a written a book that was to come out into the world, he suggested I contact his publisher. The publisher, he informed me, operated as both a traditional and a partnership publisher, and, given the similar topic of his and my work, may well be interested in my offering.
1st LESSON ABOUT SUPPORT: when a messenger comes to tell you to take action, this is support in disguise. Receive the support – by taking the action!
That same day I emailed an initial enquiry to his publisher, asking about the procedure for submitting my work. She explained they mostly only considered manuscripts from authors who had been referred by their clients, and that whilst a ”limited open-submission policy”‘ had recently been created outside of that, submissions under the scheme were closed for two more months. I referenced my connection to her client – and found myself brought to the front of the queue. Inviting me to forward my first three chapters and synopsis right away, she said she would get back to me if she was interested. Dry mouthed and my belly fluttering, I submitted my work.
2nd LESSON ABOUT SUPPORT: for external support to be available to us, we need to first be willing to extend internal support to ourselves. We do this by meeting our vulnerability (our fears of rejection or humiliation or failure, and our idea we have to do everything ourselves), whilst still choosing to move forwards with an open heart.
Three hours later my inbox pinged. Waiting for me was a request from her for the rest of my manuscript, as well as for a detailed document about why this book should be published NOW, and what its mission was. She wanted the documents right away so she could start attending to them that month while she had the window of time to do so. My stomach clenched. I didn’t have a mission document already prepared. Suddenly, it felt like a lot was at stake. I applied myself and completed what turned out to be a very powerful process – one that also gifted me with a reconnection to my conviction for my work.
3rd LESSON ABOUT SUPPORT: being asked to explain your big ‘why”, andhaving your creative work or desires be questioned such that it causes you to deeply consider your replies – is actually support in disguise. It can gift you with clarity, a renewed sense of purpose and mission, integrity, and flow.
That lesson in particular, was pure gold the minute I let myself be held and supported by it.
The publisher began to read the manuscript, and emailed questions that came up for her about the narrative or layout as she immersed. I felt these were odd questions and I was clueless as to why she had posed them when no one else had so far. But I answered them anyway.
4th LESSON ABOUT SUPPORT: support asks that you bring a good dose of patience and humility to the table.
It took her less than four days to complete her read-through. The book got the thumbs up. But then she asked me to write either a preface or introduction and send it to her as soon as I could. It was her view that the reader needed some prepping in order to ‘’fully get the depth’’ of my short prologue, and that a preface or introduction would do just that. I was confused about her request and by all the mentoring, given she had not yet indicated any formal interest in working together. Despite my reluctance to generate new content for a manuscript I had spent almost two years writing and editing, I went ahead and created the pieces. And I realised she was right: they really did add a valuable dimension.
5th LESSON ABOUT SUPPORT: in its disguised form, support can look like roadblocks or like being asked to do new or extra work you don’t initially want to do. This kind of support knows that magic happens outside your comfort zone.
Well, the publisher loved my additions, and ushered through a formal proposal and costing for a three year contract. However, the document raised more questions in me than it answered!
Emails flurried back and forth while I took a stand for my creation moving into the world, and the publisher generously took the time to give me case study examples and explanations that filled in my blanks. She even agreed to pursue a book endorsement on my behalf, from someone we both knew but to whom she was more connected than I am.
6th LESSON ABOUT SUPPORT: ASK when you are unsure or not clear! ASK for what you want. Your asking is a gift to those you direct it to – it shows them how and where they may further support you, makes it easier for them to do so, and more likely that you will meet your own needs.
This brings us to this morning and my request the publisher send me the contract so that I may view and sign.
I have come to realise that up until now, I’ve been happy to go it alone, and to have had the creative control where it has mattered most to me: over my choice of editors, cover, and designer.
But truth is, whilst the publisher and I agree I am capable of continuing on my own with the last jobs of publication and the ongoing admin thereafter, I don’t want to do all of that stuff myself. It’s not my skillset or interest or best use of my time. Over the next three years, there are even some things that having an actual publisher might prove most helpful for. So, as long as I am in agreement with the terms of the forthcoming contract, I will be happy to now delegate and bring this publisher on board to work with me and this book over the timeframe.
Writing and self-publishing can be a lonely business.
So it feels good to have a constant member on my team, someone who wants to develop relationship with me, and who comes highly recommended.
I sense I will continue to be well supported by her meticulous attention to detail, her warmth, expertise, and ongoing mentoring. Not to mention her matched desire that my creation be the best it can if she is to put her publishing name on it. I’m also aware it will be a huge journey!
This then brings me to my last lesson so far about support:
7th LESSON ABOUT SUPPORT: When we truly allow ourselves to deeply receive it, our experience of support has the power to HEAL us. It heals the original wounds from childhood where we interpreted that we were not supported. And it takes the power out of the worn story that for decades has been our lived-out reality as long as we subconsciously powered it – the one that always said “I am alone, I am unsupported, I have to do it by myself.”